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Usha Sivakumar, MD -  - Internal Medicine

SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care

Usha Sivakumar, MD

Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in Frederick, MD

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common digestive disorder that causes heartburn and acid indigestion, painful and distressing symptoms that can have a chronic negative effect on your well-being. Usha Sivakumar, MD, MBBS, is a highly experienced physician at SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care in Frederick, Maryland, who specializes in treating patients who have GERD and restoring them to health. Call the clinic now to arrange a consultation, or book an appointment online.


What is GERD?

GERD is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s more commonly referred to as acid reflux, acid indigestion, or heartburn.

GERD is a condition in which the acid in your stomach travels back up the esophagus, causing inflammation and pain. A valve called the lower esophageal sphincter normally keeps acid inside the stomach, which can resist its corrosive effects.

If the sphincter weakens or isn’t closing properly for some reason, the acid in your stomach can enter your esophagus, which isn’t designed to withstand acid and consequently becomes inflamed.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

GERD causes a range of symptoms, many of which you’ll be familiar with if you’ve had indigestion:

  • Belching and burping
  • Sore throat
  • Problems swallowing
  • Feeling like there’s a blockage in your esophagus
  • Sudden floods of saliva
  • Hoarseness when you speak
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Gum inflammation
  • Feeling nauseous

The burning feeling in your chest that you call heartburn is the acid rising from the stomach and inflaming the lining of the esophagus. Sometimes the acid comes up to your mouth, causing a strong, bitter taste. If this happens frequently, the acid is strong enough to erode your teeth.

If you do experience chest pain, it’s always best to see Dr. Sivakumar at SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care for an assessment to determine the cause.

What causes GERD?

GERD is almost always due to poor diet and lifestyle factors such as:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Drinking large quantities of alcohol
  • Eating rich or spicy food

Certain medications can bring on GERD, and you may experience it if you have chronic constipation. GERD is also common during the later stages of pregnancy when the fetus starts to put pressure on the mother’s internal organs.

How is GERD treated?

If your GERD symptoms are only occasional, Dr. Sivakumar may recommend antacids to neutralize the acid and reduce inflammation. If the symptoms are persistent, you may need other medication such as H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors that reduce the quantity of acid your stomach produces.

You can make a significant difference to your GERD by losing weight if you’re overweight or obese, and avoiding triggers like spicy foods, caffeine, fats, smoking, and alcohol. If you need help to make lifestyle changes, Dr. Sivakumar and other members of the SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care team can provide support and advice to ensure you succeed.

If the symptoms of GERD are causing you pain and discomfort, call SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care today, or make an appointment using the online booking feature.